Tropical Storm Alberto forms off the South Carolina coast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:41 PM GMT on May 19, 2012

Share this Blog
32
+

The first named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season is here. Tropical Storm Alberto formed this afternoon off the coast of South Carolina--a little going-away present for outgoing NHC director Bill Read, who retires on June 1! Alberto has the potential to hit North Carolina as early as Monday, but since the storm is so small, it would only affect a small area of the coast with high winds and heavy rain. Upper level winds out of the southwest are creating a moderate 15 - 20 knots of wind shear over Alberto, and the storm is over the warm waters of Gulf Stream, which are 81°F (27°C), just above the 26°C threshold usually needed to sustain a tropical storm. The system is tangled up with an upper level trough of low pressure, which is pumping cold, dry air into the storm, slowing development. The dry air impinging on Alberto from the southwest can be seen in water vapor satellite loops. Heavy rain showers from Alberto are located about 50 miles offshore of the coast of South Carolina, as seen on Wilmington radar. At times today, 93L has had a cloud-free center resembling an eye on radar, but this was not a true eye.


Figure 1. True color satellite photo of Alberto taken at 1:50 pm EDT Saturday May 19, 2012. Image credit: NASA.

Forecast for Alberto
Rain showers from Alberto are likely to move onshore between Charleston and Wilmington Saturday night and Sunday, bringing 1 - 3 inches of rain to portions of the coast. The storm is too small to cause major flooding problems, particularly since the coast is under moderate to severe drought. Alberto's rains will not be plentiful enough to cause significant drought relief, except perhaps over a small region near the coast, where (and if) the storm makes landfall. Wind shear is expected to remain in the moderate range, 15 - 20 knots, through Monday, which is low enough to allow some slow development. Since the storm is very small, it is highly vulnerable to even a modest increase in wind shear or dry air, which could rapidly disrupt it. Steering currents are weak, and Alberto will wander off the coast of South Carolina through Sunday, before getting caught up by a trough of low pressure on Monday which should lift it out to the northeast. The moderate wind shear and dry air are likely to keep Alberto below hurricane strength. NHC is giving Alberto a 5 - 10% chance of reaching hurricane strength before dissipating on Thursday as it scoots northeast out to sea.


Figure 2. Late afternoon radar image of Alberto from the Wilmington radar.

Alberto in historical context
Alberto is earliest-forming tropical storm in the Atlantic Basin since Ana in 2003, which formed on April 21. Alberto is one of only three Atlantic tropical storms to form in May in the past 31 years. The others were Tropical Storm Arthur of 2008, and Tropical Storm Arlene of 1981. There was also a subtropical storm, Andrea, that formed in May of 2007. Formation of an early season tropical storm from an old frontal boundary, like occurred with Alberto, is not a harbinger of an active hurricane season--it's more of a random occurrence. Early season storms that form in the Caribbean, though, often signal that a busy hurricane season may occur.

I'll have an update Sunday morning.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 279 - 229

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14Blog Index

HWRF



Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16039
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32520


Alberto does not look like a 60MPH Tropical Storm right now...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Looks like rain chances are completely out of the picture for the next several days as that dry air over Georgia and the Carolina's is now poised to plow into central Florida!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Gorty:


I really dont know what that big hole is. I dont wanna say an eye, but I guess it could be, I just doubt it.


Time will tell as the .50 beam on 248nm setting shows the whole cross section still.

Its morphing around but that new center seems to be balancing or dampening out for real.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
Quoting presslord:
pretty hairy on board right now....trying to make Charleston Harbor ahead of this thing...not fond of night time aproach


You're fine for now Press, heavy rain still well offshore. Still a lot of dry air here over eastern SC, PWAT's still below an inch over land. That will probably change overnight. Minimal effects still expected here in the Lowcountry.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
270. Gorty 12:14 AM GMT on May 20, 2012 +0
Quoting Patrap:
TS Alberto Long Floater - RGB Color Imagery Loop

.click image for Loop

ZOOM is available



I really dont know what that big hole is. I dont wanna say an eye, but I guess it could be, I just doubt it.


there you go gorty...first one to spot the eye...i saw the pinhole eye 48 hours ago...but you've seen the one bigger than life....wink....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
271. DFWjc
Quoting SherwoodSpirit:
Wait. What? I don't look at the blog for two days and we get our first named storm of the year?

!!!

Well that's a fine howdy do. ;)


don't feel bad, i just checked back in from when last season ended...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
270. Gorty
Quoting Patrap:
TS Alberto Long Floater - RGB Color Imagery Loop

.click image for Loop

ZOOM is available



I really dont know what that big hole is. I dont wanna say an eye, but I guess it could be, I just doubt it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
don't worry gorty...just ask and you'll have over 40 replies giving you links to sites you haven't even thought of yet....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Some Storm Warnings!!

Link

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Wilmington
NEXRAD Radar

Storm Relative Mean Radial Velocity 2.40° Elevation
Range 124 NMI

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
TS Alberto Long Floater - RGB Color Imagery Loop

.click image for Loop

ZOOM is available

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
265. Gorty
Quoting ricderr:
oh my gorty.....please accept my apologies...i didn't realize you had you own sats....radars and models running


All I do is google for it then favorite it :p Need to find them in my favorites.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Wait. What? I don't look at the blog for two days and we get our first named storm of the year?

!!!

Well that's a fine howdy do. ;)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
oh my gorty.....please accept my apologies...i didn't realize you had you own sats....radars and models running
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
Nevermind



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting SouthDadeFish:
I do agree that the center relocated. You can see on the latest frames a new spin right where you drew the circle.


At this point it looks like a smaller swirl embeded in the convection thats rotating inside of a larger circulation.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
256. JRRP
Quoting Tazmanian:
its Alberto deal reio


omg jajaja
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
23:45 UTC Over the Hill Image

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
7.Check pool covers to ensure that they are secure.


BS....WRONG.....besides that a good cut and paste....problem is.....most pool covers and just about any over a year old...is not rated for even sustained tropical storm winds....so.....take it off because if it flies away....it's just another hazard


ok.....that's enough of me being serious
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting presslord:
pretty hairy on board right now....trying to make Charleston Harbor ahead of this thing...not fond of night time aproach


Get back safe Press! The blog needs you!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting presslord:
pretty hairy on board right now....trying to make Charleston Harbor ahead of this thing...not fond of night time aproach
steady as she goes
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54833
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WxGeekVA:


Brief personal analysis on the situation with Alberto. Seems like the COC is back under convection again and is wrapped up. If it continues on the current track it could make landfall between Charleston and Hilton Head.
I do agree that the center relocated. You can see on the latest frames a new spin right where you drew the circle.
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 11 Comments: 2448
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
its Alberto deal reio

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
pretty hairy on board right now....trying to make Charleston Harbor ahead of this thing...not fond of night time aproach
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
Just Before the Storm


1.Make sure shed doors are closed tightly: otherwise, they could end up blowing off their hinges and becoming dangerous projectiles.


2.Bring in flags and awnings.


3.Hurricane safety tips for your vehicle: don't park cars under trees (especially if you may be in the car when the storm strikes!).


4.Firmly stake tall garden plants that could snap in high winds.


5.Store lawn ornaments away, such as gazing balls. Not only is it a matter of saving the ornaments, but they can become dangerous projectiles in a storm!


6.Remove house ornaments that are not secure, such as fall wreath displays.


7.Check pool covers to ensure that they are secure.


8.Harvest any fragile items in the garden that are mature enough to be picked, including flowers to be used for cut flower arrangements. There's no point in letting the storm wreck them.


9.Remember that storms sometimes bring flooding in their wake, and that means potential erosion problems. If you live on a steep slope or close to a body of water, among the hurricane safety tips you must contemplate is evacuation (remain aware of what local authorities are recommending). In areas of your yard where water is known to pass through, remove any items of value.

good posting, hope the folks there listen
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
245. Gorty
Quoting ricderr:
228. Gorty 11:57 PM GMT on May 19, 2012 0
Oh man, I need to some how find all my sats, radars, and models I used last year during hurricane season



yes you do gorty....because being the fastest to cut and paste means you're the smartest....get real good at it..and they'll hire you at the NHC


I didn't say anything about cut/paste.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Just Before the Storm


1.Make sure shed doors are closed tightly: otherwise, they could end up blowing off their hinges and becoming dangerous projectiles.


2.Bring in flags and awnings.


3.Hurricane safety tips for your vehicle: don't park cars under trees (especially if you may be in the car when the storm strikes!).


4.Firmly stake tall garden plants that could snap in high winds.


5.Store lawn ornaments away, such as gazing balls. Not only is it a matter of saving the ornaments, but they can become dangerous projectiles in a storm!


6.Remove house ornaments that are not secure, such as fall wreath displays.


7.Check pool covers to ensure that they are secure.


8.Harvest any fragile items in the garden that are mature enough to be picked, including flowers to be used for cut flower arrangements. There's no point in letting the storm wreck them.


9.Remember that storms sometimes bring flooding in their wake, and that means potential erosion problems. If you live on a steep slope or close to a body of water, among the hurricane safety tips you must contemplate is evacuation (remain aware of what local authorities are recommending). In areas of your yard where water is known to pass through, remove any items of value.

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54833


Brief personal analysis on the situation with Alberto. Seems like the COC is back under convection again and is wrapped up. If it continues on the current track it could make landfall between Charleston and Hilton Head.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
233. CosmicEvents 11:59 PM GMT on May 19, 2012 +0
A tropical storm?
Was there anyone who forecast this as a strong or even a medium possibility 24-48 hours ago?


yes cosmic....48 hours ago...i saw a pinhole eye
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
228. Gorty 11:57 PM GMT on May 19, 2012 +0
Oh man, I need to some how find all my sats, radars, and models I used last year during hurricane season



yes you do gorty....because being the fastest to cut and paste means you're the smartest....get real good at it..and they'll hire you at the NHC
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KoritheMan:
Cody are you still on your phone? I'd like to see another blog update from you.

Unfortunately yes, but I /may/ not be for long.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32520
The almost forgotten 92E is now up to 30%
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8317
thanx taz...i knew that...but i was being my sarcastic ass like always
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
this is the newets update on the storm


TROPICAL STORM ALBERTO TROPICAL CYCLONE UPDATE
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL012012
650 PM EDT SAT MAY 19 2012

...SHIP INDICATES ALBERTO IS STRONGER...

REPORTS FROM A SHIP NEAR THE CENTER OF ALBERTO INDICATE THAT THE
CYCLONE IS STRONGER THAN PREVIOUSLY ESTIMATED. BASED PRIMARILY ON
THE PRESSURE DATA...MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NOW ESTIMATED TO BE
60 MPH...95 KM/H. LITTLE CHANGE IN STRENGTH IS EXPECTED OVER THE
NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS AND NO CHANGES TO THE OFFICIAL FORECAST ARE
REQUIRED AT THIS TIME.


SUMMARY OF 650 PM...2250 UTC...INFORMATION
------------------------------------------------- -
LOCATION...32.2N 77.9W
ABOUT 130 MI...210 KM ESE OF CHARLESTON SOUTH CAROLINA
ABOUT 120 MI...190 KM S OF CAPE FEAR NORTH CAROLINA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...60 MPH...95 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...SW OR 220 DEGREES AT 3 MPH...6 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...995 MB...29.38 INCHES
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Gorty:


IF we do, will it be the first hurricane ever recorded in May in the ATL?

There have been 5 May hurricanes in the Atlantic and 1 of those was a major.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32520
Cody are you still on your phone? I'd like to see another blog update from you.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
A tropical storm?
Was there anyone who forecast this as a strong or even a medium possibility 24-48 hours ago?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Definitely better organized...



Someday,we will see Bud. I say someday as it has taken many days to organize.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14556
Quoting ricderr:
you can never have too many tropical storm cut and pastes

000
WTNT41 KNHC 192042
TCDAT1

TROPICAL STORM ALBERTO DISCUSSION NUMBER 1
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL012012
500 PM EDT SAT MAY 19 2012

SATELLITE...RADAR...AND SURFACE DATA INDICATE THAT THE SMALL SURFACE
LOW LOCATED OFF THE COAST OF SOUTH CAROLINA HAS ACQUIRED THE
CHARACTERISTICS OF A TROPICAL CYCLONE. ORGANIZED DEEP CONVECTION
HAS BEEN PERSISTENT OVER THE CENTER FOR MORE THAN 18 HOURS...AND
THE CIRCULATION CENTER HAS BEEN MOVING SOUTH AWAY FROM AN AIRMASS
BOUNDARY THAT EXTENDS ROUGHLY ALONG 33N. BASED ON AN ASCAT PASS
FROM AROUND 1530 UTC...THE INITIAL INTENSITY IS SET AT 40 KT.
ALBERTO IS SITUATED IN A MARGINAL THERMODYNAMIC ENVIRONMENT FOR
STRENGTHENING...WITH A MARKEDLY DRY CONTINENTAL AIRMASS TO ITS NORTH
AND WEST OVER THE EASTERN CAROLINAS. GIVEN THIS...ONLY MODEST
INTENSIFICATION IS EXPECTED DESPITE THE CYCLONE BEING OVER
THE RELATIVELY WARM GULF STREAM. ALBERTO IS EXPECTED TO BECOME
EXTRATROPICAL BY 96 HOURS...AND SHOULD DISSIPATE BY DAY 5. THE NHC
INTENSITY FORECAST IS A BLEND OF THE MORE AGGRESSIVE STATISTICAL
GUIDANCE AND THE WEAKER DYNAMICAL MODELS.

THE LOW-LEVEL CIRCULATION IS A BIT TO THE EAST OF THE COLDEST CLOUD
TOPS AND THE CIRCULATION CENTER SEEN ON RADAR...AND THE INITIAL
MOTION ESTIMATE IS 220/03. THE SYNOPTIC ENVIRONMENT IS COMPLEX...AS
ALBERTO IS IN A REGION OF WEAK STEERING FLOW WITHIN A BROAD
MID/UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH. THE NHC FORECAST SHOWS A SLOW SOUTHWESTWARD
MOTION OVER THE NEXT DAY OR SO DUE TO THE STRONG NORTHEASTERLY FLOW
BETWEEN A SURFACE RIDGE EAST OF THE APPALACHIANS AND A LARGER
EXTRATROPICAL LOW CENTERED NEAR 36N/72W. AS THAT LOW MOVES WESTWARD
AND WEAKENS BY SUNDAY NIGHT...ALBERTO IS EXPECTED TO TURN NORTHWARD
AND THEN ACCELERATE NORTHEASTWARD AFTER 48 HOURS AS A SHORTWAVE
TROUGH MOVES INTO THE EASTERN UNITED STATES AND THE STEERING FLOW
BECOMES SOUTHWESTERLY. GIVEN THE SMALL SIZE OF ALBERTO AND THE
COMPLEX STEERING PATTERN...IT IS NOT SURPRISING THAT THE TRACK
MODEL GUIDANCE SHOWS A LARGE AMOUNT OF SPREAD...BOTH IN TERMS OF
HOW FAR SOUTH AND WEST ALBERTO WILL MOVE...AND HOW SHARP THE TURN
TOWARD THE NORTHEAST WILL BE. THE NHC TRACK FORECAST IS GENERALLY
CLOSE TO THE TVCA MULTI-MODEL CONSENSUS...AND IS OF VERY LOW
CONFIDENCE.

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH COULD BE REQUIRED FOR A PORTION OF THE COAST
OF THE CAROLINAS THIS EVENING.

ALBERTO IS EARLIEST-FORMING TROPICAL STORM IN THE ATLANTIC BASIN
SINCE ANA IN 2003. THIS IS ALSO THE FIRST TIME THAT A TROPICAL
STORM HAS FORMED BEFORE THE OFFICIAL START OF THE HURRICANE SEASON
IN BOTH THE ATLANTIC AND EAST PACIFIC BASINS.


FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT 19/2100Z 32.2N 77.7W 40 KT 45 MPH
12H 20/0600Z 31.9N 78.1W 45 KT 50 MPH
24H 20/1800Z 31.7N 78.5W 45 KT 50 MPH
36H 21/0600Z 31.9N 78.9W 45 KT 50 MPH
48H 21/1800Z 32.7N 78.5W 45 KT 50 MPH
72H 22/1800Z 34.5N 75.5W 45 KT 50 MPH
96H 23/1800Z 37.5N 72.0W 40 KT 45 MPH...POST-TROP/EXTRATROP
120H 24/1800Z...DISSIPATED

$$
FORECASTER BRENNAN






guys thats old the storm is up too 60mph
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
92E



Is it safe to say 92E has turned out a bust or could it still end up developing?

Definitely not. The ECMWf didnt even start developing it until around this time. 92E is still very much destined to become a hurricane.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32520

Viewing: 279 - 229

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy
55 °F
Partly Cloudy